Let’s be honest, the best gift any college student wants to get is cold, hard cash. At least, that’s how it was back in my day. Just some extra bit of money to help you eat better, dress nicer, and help cover the myriad of needs every young adult deals with just a little bit. So yeah… that’s the shortcut to gifting any college student, whether it comes in the form of cash cards, gift cards, or paper bills with presidents on it (please, no perfume that makes you smell like money).
Of course, some of us still prefer to buy actual presents even for college-age kids. In those cases, the best gifts to get them usually involves solving the same things that money does. That is, things that can help make their days easier and less stressful without encroaching on the limited room they usually have in their dorm room space.
These are the best gifts for college students.
Rocketbook Fusion Reusable Notebook
This set pairs a Rocketbook notebook with a Pilot FriXion pen, a combo that creates notebooks that can be erased with the wipe of the included microfiber cloth. That means, you can reuse the notebook over and over. It has 42 reusable pages divided into seven different layouts, including task list, weekly planner, monthly calendar, goal template, idea list, dot grid, and lined. Designed to work with the companion app, you can snap a pic of each page using your phone, allowing you to save it to your cloud service of choice (it supports Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, OneNote, Box, Slack, iCloud, and more) so you can digitize your notes before you erase them.
We know plenty of college students who rely on smoothies for their morning sustenance and on-the-fly refreshment throughout the day. This personal blender with a 200-watt motor helps can crank out quality smoothies, all while taking up very little space with its tall and slim dimensions. Blenders are especially great for dorm rooms as it lets you make a good load of delicious drinks, from blended fruit drinks and frappucinos to Friday night cocktails, while keeping costs under control. You can also use it for omelets, sauces, dips, and anything that requires chopping, blending, whipping, mixing, and grinding. Very handy.
Studying in a dorm room isn’t easy, with loud roommates, noisy neighbors, and the general bustle of a large group of young people. These reusable earplugs can block out up to 21db of noise, making it useful not just for tuning out the noise when you’re studying or working, but also lowering the loud sounds when attending concerts, parties, and whatever college shenanigans young ones are into these days. Each set comes with two sizes of earplugs and a waterproof aluminum case.
Do you remember how your dorm room smelled? Probably not that good. Well, if you’d like your college student to have a better olfactory remembrance of their college days, maybe you can get them this smart fragrance diffuser, which pairs with a companion app, so you can schedule when it fills the room with more pleasant scents and even adjust the fragrance intensity. It comes with two scents onboard, so you can change thing up when you feel like it, with more scents available when either one runs out.
Is there a group of people who take more smartphone pics than college students? We don’t know, but anyone who takes that many photos will probably appreciate a way to get physical prints of the best shots from their camera rolls. This pocket-sized printer lets you do that on-the-fly, instantly printing 2 x 3 inch photos of your choosing at the push of a button. Because even the best shots can use some spiffing up, the companion app lets you add frames, filters, sketches, and stickers to the photos for even more fun-looking prints.
Got a college kid prone to acne breakouts? Maybe this skincare tool can help with its simplified version of photodynamic therapy, which puts the light treatment in a form factor the size of a safety razor. When used, the device can release blue light to reduce sebum production and breakouts by killing the bacteria that cause it, as well as red light to penetrate below the skin to reduce inflammation, brighten hyperpigmentation, and rejuvenate skin. You can use it to spot treat breakouts three minutes at a time, with visible results promised in just one to three uses.
Back in the day, people would highlight important passages in textbooks, making it easy to know which sections to re-read when reviewing for an exam or working on a paper. While you can still do that now, this device offers to just save those important sections to your phone using this pen-shaped scanner, which can scan a line of text and save a text version of it directly on the app, allowing you to simply review your saved highlights later. It can also be used to read sentences aloud and even translate text in over 40 languages, so you can use foreign language books as reference, if you need to.
If your college student uses an iPad, then accessories for Apple’s tablet will make for a nice gift. Chief among accessories you can get is the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, whose sensitivity to tilt and pressure makes it a whole lot easier to take notes, draw images, annotate documents, and more. It features a flat edge that attaches magnetically to the iPad for automatic charging, while a thinner and shorter profile makes it feel more like a real wooden pencil for a very natural feel while held in hand.
Designed to serve as a versatile sleep gadget, this sunrise alarm can wake you up with light that gradually brightens up to 300 lumens, all while helping you sleep by simulating sunset light changes and monitoring sleep quality using contact-free sleep tracking technology. Of course, it also serves as a desk clock, making it an ideal nightstand companion. Do note, it doesn’t serve as a speaker, so you’ll need to pair it with an Echo to use the alarm with Alexa (e.g. synchronizing the light alarm with speaker music).
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Cycon 2 Couch Gaming Lap Desk
We love lap desks, as it makes it easy to use a laptop while plopped down on a bed or couch. This one takes it to the next level by giving you plenty of tabletop space, allowing you to pair your laptop with a large mousepad. If you’re using a desktop, you can use it to hold both keyboard and mouse, too, all while doubling as functional desk space any time you need it. The desk surface is adjustable, allowing it to better accommodate different body types, while arm rests let you work at a back-friendly sitting posture. Features include memory foam cushions, suede-like covers, and an integrated charging dock with six USB 3.0 ports.
iPads are all over the place on college campuses for good reason – they make quite the versatile tool for students, allowing you to take notes, read books, plan your calendar, watch shows, and more, all in one place. That’s why, Apple’s tablet always makes for a great gift. Even if they already have one, they probably wouldn’t mind another for backup. Or to watch a movie on while they study their notes on the other. This model has a 10.2-inch Retina display, 32GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera, and a 1.2MP Facetime webcam.